Satoshi Nakamoto, the Creator of Bitcoin assumed that users of his payment system would produce digital coins at home – using a standard personal computer. For a while that was the only way to get bitcoin, but that wasn't for long. Already within a few months users began to sell and buy coins through the IRC-channel #bitcoin-otc. And in 2010 the first major cryptocurrency exchange came: Mt Gox. Today, according to Coinmarketcap there are more than 200 trading platforms working with hundreds of cryptocurrencies around the world. We have prepared a list of the most famous and major exchanges in the world for you.
The cryptocurrency exchange Binance started working only last year, but has already become a world leader in terms of trading volume. The number of its users has already reached 10 million people, and the daily trading volume (on average) is $1.5 billion.
Initially, Binance was based in Shanghai, but its leadership had to move outside of China after the country limited operations with cryptocurrencies. Now its headquarters are located in Hong Kong. There are also offices in Japan, Taiwan and Malta.
The interface of the site is quite simple and similar to the design of most trading platforms. It is available in 13 languages, though the translations to them (except English) were made with the help of Google-translator.
To start trading on the exchange you need to register and pass the verification. There are three levels of verification for a client on Binance. They determine the limit of funds withdrawal from accounts: for example, a user who has passed only the first level of verification can withdraw no more than 2 BTC per day. The next step increases the limit to 100 BTC per day, but this requires a scan of one's passport and a sample signature or data of a legal entity.
You can not trade fiat on Binance, instead of dollar the USDT token is used on the exchange, whose price is equal to the US currency exchange rate. But there are more than 50 trading pairs. The main advantages of Binance for users are considered to be low commission of only 0.1% of the transaction and high speed of order processing – up to 1.4 million per second.
OKEx's customer base includes more than 20 million people, representing about 100 countries. It offers its clients the opportunity to trade in fiat/token or token/token pairs, as well as futures on popular cryptocurrencies. At the same time, the exchange charges commissions from the operations, which can be found here.
OKEx exchange was a spinoff of the project OKCoin, founded by Chinese entrepreneur Star Xu in 2013. Initially, it was possible to trade fiat/cryptocurrency pairs and futures on OKCoin. However, at the beginning of 2017, Chinese authorities banned OKCoin to conduct transactions with futures. As a result, these types of operations migrated to a separate exchange – OKEx. OKEx is headquartered in Belize, with the company's main operating hub located in Hong Kong. As a result, most of the users moved to the new company, which today is much greater than its ancestor in terms of trading volume – up to $1.5 billion per day. According to this indicator, it is steadily competing with Binance.
Note that the exchange is limited in opportunities to enter. Cryptocurrency can only be bought for yuan and only through the Chinese payment system AliPay and WeChat Pay, or the banks of the PRC.
BitMEX is the world leader in terms of trading volume, which varies in the range of $2.5 - 3 billion per day. The exchange was founded by HDR Global Trading Limited, operates in Hong Kong and is registered in the Seychelles.
It features an advanced set of trading tools: in addition to standard trading pairs with fiat (US dollar, Yen and Yuan) and cryptocurrencies. BitMEX users are offered futures trading, open-ended swaps, as well as margin trading with a coefficient up to x100.
Deposit and withdrawal of funds from the exchange is possible only in bitcoins. The minimum amount of input is 10 thousand Satoshi. As for the withdrawal, it is carried out no more than once a day and is made by the exchange in manual mode. This allows you to increase the security of the exchange. BitMex itself does not charge fees for the withdrawal of funds, the user only assigns a commission for the transaction in the network, the size of which ultimately affects the speed of transaction processing.
The interface of the exchange is somewhat more complicated than that of its competitors, but can be customized at the request of the client. The site is available in several languages: Chinese, English, Russian, Japanese, and Korean.
The Huobi exchange was founded in the first wave of bitcoin popularity - in 2013 - and has been one of the most popular trading platforms in China for a long time. However, last year it was forced to close due to tighter regulations of the cryptocurrency market in the country. Today, the reborn version of Huobi is operating: it was registered under the brand Huobi.pro, and the company Huobi Global Team moved to Singapore. In addition, it has offices in Japan, Hong Kong and the United States, where users can get all the necessary support to work on the exchange.
The exchange interface is quite simple and is available in 12 languages. To start trading, the user must pass a registration procedure. To increase the limit on withdrawal of funds from the exchange, the user has to go through verification, which involves providing a passport or an identity card number, name and surname, as well as a photo of the document.
You can refill your account on the exchange via the linked Bank account or MoneyPolo payment system. For the Deposit of funds each of these methods will be charged a fee-1% and 1.5%, respectively. Transactions themselves are subject to a Commission of 0.2%.
Huobi offers its users almost two hundred trading pairs. Available instruments include standard trading in fiat/token and token/token pairs with two types of orders (limit and market), as well as margin trading. And recently, the company launched the world's first autonomous digital asset exchange Hadax, where users are invited to vote for the listing of assets using the HT token.
At the end of June 2018, the young exchange Coinbene, founded by CoinBene Limited Vanuatu, became the leader in terms of daily trading volume. The exchange is based in Singapore. At the same time, the site states that the company does not provide its services in whole or in part in a number of countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, China and the United States. The exchange website is available in eight languages.
Coinbene is quite limited in the choice of instruments. In total, it presents about 120 trading pairs, divided into three groups: BTC, ETH, and USDT. The exchange does not work with fiat, so to trade on it, the user initially has to buy a cryptocurrency.
In addition to standard trading, Coinbene also allows users to earn interest from the assets they hold on the exchange. Something like the interest charged on a savings account at a bank.
Domain ZB.com was registered back in 1995, but this Chinese cryptocurrency exchange only opened in November 2017. That is, as soon as the Chinese authorities limited operations with cryptocurrencies in the country. And to avoid problems, the trading platform was registered in an offshore zone – in Samoa. This allows it to provide services to citizens around the world, including China.
The site interface is available in several languages, including English and Chinese. The trading instruments here are classic orders for buying and selling tokens. The platform does not work with fiat. In total, users have access to about 200 trading pairs divided into groups of cryptocurrencies QC, USDT, BTC and ZB. In addition, the exchange has a function of margin trading, available for the markets of QC and USDT, as well as the function of voting on the listing of tokens using the ZB token.
The exchange’s commission for transactions start from 0.2% for minimum transactions with the least liquid instruments. The withdrawal fee is 0.0001 BTC, 0.005 LTC or 0.01 ETH.
Bitfinex is one of the world's largest trading platforms, consistently included in the top 10 in terms of trading volume and having almost the highest liquidity on the market. At the same time, we note that Bitfinex is not suitable for beginners in the field of exchange trading. It is designed for experienced, and most importantly – large investors. The minimum entry threshold to the exchange is $10,000.
The exchange has been hacked several times, experienced a lot of DDos attacks, and therefore pays close attention to security. In addition to standard security barriers like two-factor user authentication and encryption, Bitfinex stores users' assets as far away from criminals as possible: almost all assets are stored in cold wallets, while hot wallets store only 0.5% of all savings that are used for everyday operations. Only a few administrators have access to "cold" wallets. And the process of verification of users can take up to 8 weeks.
Bitfinex, as an exchange for professional investors, has a rich set of financial instruments and opportunities for trading – from spot transactions to margin trading with a leverage of 3.3 x and the ability to earn on margin providing traders. You can refill your account on Bitfinex using fiat (Dollar, Euro, Pound, Yen), cryptocurrency or Tether tokens (USDT, EURT).
As for commissions, they are charged by the exchange for almost any action of the user. Details of them can be found here.
Coinbase was founded by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam back in 2012 in San Francisco. The company has two main areas of activity; the provision of crypto-currency wallets and cryptocurrency trading.
Coinbase is one of the oldest trading platforms in the world of cryptocurrencies. At the same time, Coinbase has three independent products in the field of trading: a standard platform for ordinary users at Coinbase.com, an exchange for professional trading with digital assets called Coinbase Pro, and a platform for institutional players called Coinbase Prime.
While Coinbase provides cryptocurrency wallets to users almost all over the world, trading on Coinbase is available to citizens of only 33 countries. The company allows trading with cryptocurrencies through its platforms only in North America, most EU countries (except Germany, Lithuania and Estonia), as well as in Australia and Singapore. The company offers to deposit and withdraw funds using credit and debit cards or bank accounts. And among the cryptocurrencies available for trading, there are only four: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. That, however, does not prevent Coinbase to remain one of the world leaders in terms of trading volume.
If ordinary users of Coinbase can only sell and buy digital assets, the clients of Coinbase Pro also have access to a number of tools to track the history of transactions and market analytics. In addition, users can use the API to create trading bots.
As for commissions, they are not charged to market makers, and for sellers of assets fees are from 0.1% to 0.3% of the order value.
The Kraken company was founded by Jesse Powell back in 2011, and the exchange began its work in mid-2013. This is not just one of the old-timers among crypto-currency exchanges, but also one of the most reputable and successful trading platforms in the world. In addition, in all these years the exchange has never been hacked.
Its popularity among traders jumped in 2014, when the US authorities entrusted the management of Kraken to work with the victims of the bankruptcy of the Japanese exchange Mt Gox users. Kraken was instructed to investigate the loss of Bitcoins from the accounts of it's Japanese competitor, as well as to compensate the loss of customers.
Kraken works with both fiat and cryptocurrency. Dollars, Euros, Canadian dollars, Japanese Yen and Pounds are available for input and output. As for the interface of the exchange website, it is available only in two languages: English and Japanese. For trading, users are offered 45 pairs.
Another pioneer in the world of cryptocurrency trading is the Bitstamp exchange, which was registered in 2011 by Bitstamp Ltd. It has only 15 trading pairs and the option of margin trading. But its Ace card is something else. Bitstamp is the first fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Europe. The firm has offices in Luxembourg, London and New York, and it received a license from the Luxembourg Supervisory Commission of the Finance sector (CSSF). But that's not all: in July last year, the exchange concluded an agreement with the Swiss Bank Swissquote, which allowed its customers to trade bitcoins on Bitstamp. And the trust of the Swiss Bank to the cryptocurrency exchange says a lot.
However, the history of Bitstamp was not without excesses. In 2015, the exchange was hacked. Then the leadership of Bitstamp redesigned the mechanism of protection, and transferred 98% of all user assets on the exchange into offline storage.
Another advantage of Bitstamp is that you can deposit and withdraw funds from the exchange both in cryptocurrencies and fiat. At the same time, you can use a credit card to fund your account. Exchange commission on trade transactions is usually 0.25%, but may be less, depending on the amount of transactions of the user for the last 30 days. You can read more about all the exchange commissions here, however, only in English – this is the only language that the exchange website supports.
The Japanese Zaif exchange appeared in the end of 2014, shortly after the bankruptcy of the infamous Mt Gox exchange. And it seems that Zaif has managed to take the place of its predecessor in the Yen trading market to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The volume of daily trading with Yen and bitcoin on the exchange has already reached $75 million.
Until recently, registration on the exchange's website was quite problematic, as the entire interface was in Japanese. But now there is an English version of the site. In total, clients are offered 16 trading pairs – either token/token or token/Yen. The exchange does not work with other fiat currencies.
In addition to traditional trading, Zaif offers its customers the Zaif Coin Reserve service. This is a service that makes automatic investments in bitcoin. To do this, the user simply needs to link a bank account to the exchange from which the amount specified by the client will be withdrawn monthly. This money will be used to buy bitcoins. This service is particularly suitable for those who may not regularly follow the fluctuations in prices and hope for a long-term investment.
As for commissions, they reach 0.3% for buyers. At the same time, if the user withdraws a cryptocurrency from the exchange, the commission is not charged at all.
Daily ranking of crypto exchanges by trading volume can be found here: https://coinmarketcap.com/rankings/exchanges/
Also, if you need to understand what the trading volume per day of a particular cryptocurrency is, and on what markets it is traded, you can go to the cryptocurrency itself and select the Markets option (for example, the markets on which the XEM cryptocurrency is traded) https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nem/#markets
If you are interested in Analytics for a longer period - the service Coinmarketcap launched a paid service professional API: https://pro.coinmarketcap.com
lllustration by Marina Demchenko (Mamihlapinatana Studio)